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Poll Finds Most Americans Believe The World Is Warming

In this Aug. 2, 2011 file photo, the bottom of the pond at the Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area is nearly dried up in Amarillo, Texas. A devastating drought across Texas turned rivers into sand, creeks into mud, springs into mere trickles and lakes into large puddles.
Michael Norris

A Washington Post-Stanford University poll released today finds that most Americans believe the world is warming.

Here's how the Post wraps up the findings:

"Americans polled by The Post and Stanford do see climate change as occurring: Six in 10 say weather patterns around the world have been more unstable in the past three years than previously, a perception that's changed little since 2006. Nearly as many also say average temperatures were higher during the past three years than before that.

"In terms of what can be done about it, about 55 percent say a 'great deal' or 'good amount' can be done to reduce future global warming. At the same time, 60 percent of those polled say it will be extremely or very difficult for people to stop it."

There's a wealth of very interesting information in the poll. Here are some highlights:

-- About of a third of respondents said that the warming is caused by "things people do." 22 percent said it was caused by "natural causes," and 47 percent said "both equally."

In 2007, 41 percent of Americans said warming was caused by "things people do."

-- 40 percent said global warming would be a "very serious" problem for the United States if nothing is done about it.

-- A little more than half believe scientists are reporting on global warming "mainly on the basis of scientific evidence." A little more than a third said they were reporting based "mainly on the basis of their own economic or political interests."

-- More than half of respondents said the United States should do "a great deal" or "quite a bit" to address global warming.

The study comes on the heels of a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that found that the severe weather of last year was linked to global warming.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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